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on Mon, 06/10/2013 - 14:12

THE controllers know the initial stage of any war is fought in the public arena. If they can successfully influence mass opinion to get behind a cause, then they might not need to manipulate any further. Great invasions do not happen with thundering smoke and high-tech weaponry. That is the mark of an immature society. Great invasions happen in secrecy. In The Art of War, a classic fifth century treatise of Chinese philosophy and battle strategy, General Sun Tzu said, “All warfare is based on deception.” The master strategist added, “For to win one hundred victories in one hundred battles is not the acme of skill. To subdue the enemy without fighting is the acme of skill.”

The latest platform for molding public opinion has now moved to cyberspace. The recently surfaced “Internet Water Army” is a group of individuals who act as paid mercenaries to inundate the Internet with comments, gossip, or other content to build up or demolish credibility of articles, information, websites or public figures. These paid staffers pose as ordinary people writing comments on blogs and discussion forums that can demolish the consumer ranking of products and services, create false images, or provide the rationale for opposing perceptions to destroy the truth.

Some blame China as the pioneer of the Internet Water Army. China may have started the ominous trend, but the list of abusers is vast. India Daily posted an article that clearly asserts that China is not the only group “flooding” the Internet this way, watering down content, or launching cyber-attacks. Scams and slander are commonplace on the freewheeling World Wide Web, no matter your access point. Two scientists at the Canadian University of Victoria investigated the problem of the “paid armies” of fake commentators in China. They created software that was 85% successful at discovering their identities. Although most of the Water Army soldiers reside in the emerging economies of China and India, almost all of their clients come from the Western Hemisphere. The corporations are employing them, the unions are employing them, and even the political parties employ them for smear campaigns. It is harder than ever, now, to discern the truth, especially going up against the very well-financed movers and shakers.


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